I’ve been a full-time YouTuber for around six months now and it is the best career decision I have ever made.
I regularly encounter moments throughout the week where I sit back and think, I get to do this for a living. It prompts me to recall the times when I’ve been desperately unhappy at work and reveals just how far I’ve come.
But there are several realities about becoming a full-time YouTuber I’d love to share with you. It’s still early days for me, but the following seven aspects of doing this for a living are something you’ll need to take into account if you want to follow a similar path.
1. Shit gets real
It really does – quickly.
I remember when I first started the channel; year one of Mark Ellis Reviews was pretty carefree. I was approaching it as a business, sure, but it was a side hustle, and one that had no pressure attached to it whatsoever.
I just made videos, learned from my mistakes, tried new stuff, and gradually built a little studio in our back bedroom.
Now that I’m full time, every second I spend on Mark Ellis Reviews can be attributed to my ability to put food on the table. If a video performs poorly, it hurts a little more than it did before; if subscriber growth slows, I genuinely worry about the future of the business; if I take too long to do something, I have to reevaluate the process and develop one that is more efficient.
I genuinely love how real this now is, but for some people, it might remove some of the enjoyment from simply ‘making videos on the internet’.
2. Multiple income streams are key
No one can rely solely on YouTube AdSense – even the big creators on the platform. It is wildly inconsistent, unpredictable, and impossible to forecast.
Right from the off, I ensured that Mark Ellis Reviews was a multiple income stream brand. As a result, I generate revenue from videos, articles, courses, affiliate sales, digital products, and coaching – to name but a few.
This increases the amount of work, processes, and complexity involved in one’s brand, but if you’re smart about how you repurpose content and draw in external support, it can be very profitable.
The key is to plan this right from the start – just as I did. You can add new income streams as you go, of course, but having a solid multiple income strategy during those early days will put you in the right frame of mind for success.
3. Processes are king
I still do the majority of the production work for Mark Ellis Reviews. This means that the processes behind my videos, blog posts, podcasts, and Skillshare classes need to be watertight.
The good news is that production processes usually develop organically and without you having to think too much about them – particularly if you find and stick with a toolset that works.
I’m proud of the processes I’ve built behind-the-scenes, and I don’t fiddle with them (no matter how tempting it might be to do just that). I also avoid overcomplicating my processes, and have thus far avoided falling into the trap of continually trying out new tools.
The other benefit of having solid processes is that it’s far easier to call on external help if you need to offload part of the work to free up your time.
4. Your time is worth more than you think
I wrote about this recently, so I’ll point you in the direction of that guide rather than go through it in detail today, but this is arguably the most important point on my list.
The more successful you become as a YouTuber, the more you’ll encounter instances where people devalue your time (either consciously or mistakenly).
If you’ve never worked for yourself before, it’ll feel weird, but trust me – your time is worth far more than you think it is, and you should never be afraid of placing a solid rate on top of your head. Because you’re worth it.
5. You’ll worry (a lot)
This might be something to do with my character, or it could simply be part and parcel of being entrepreneurial, but I have always worried about my business.
Before I started this brand, I ran an external marketing business for six years, and most weeks I’d genuinely expect to wake up one day to an inbox full of contract cancellations from my clients.
This was silly. I knew it was silly. But that didn’t stop me worrying constantly about the business toppling over and dying without warning.
I think this stems from the fact that I never, ever want to go back to ‘normal’ work. The thought of working for someone else, or being bound by working hours, meetings that I haven’t arranged, and quarterly performance reviews fills me with dread.
In reality, I’ll always be ok. I’ve built enough skills and connections over the years to always have something to fall back on, or another avenue to pursue, and I’ve been super careful with my money to ensure I have a decent buffer.
That doesn’t stop me worrying, though – and it has definitely got worse since I went full time with YouTube.
6. Imposter syndrome will increase
This is unavoidable but, I’d argue, a really good thing.
If you didn’t have imposter syndrome as a YouTuber, you wouldn’t strive constantly to grow and improve. You’d have no reason to press the ‘record’ button and prove to the world that you deserve a place on the platform.
But I still have to pinch myself that I’m able to make a living from this stuff – particularly when I admire so many other YouTubers who have far bigger channels than mine. It’s incredibly surreal at times.
7. The rewards are handsome (but so is the effort required)
If you focus on building separate income streams, create bullet-proof processes, and stand firm on the value of your time, YouTube can provide a very handsome income.
It’ll change your life, too – it has certainly changed mine.
The rewards for becoming a full time YouTuber are lovely, but they don’t come easily. I’ve never worked this hard in my life, and I’ve never had so many things I want to do.
Providing you’re willing to put in the effort and make sacrifices, consistency will help you sniff out a path to financial freedom. I’m not there yet (by a long shot) but I’ve never had access to so many opportunities for personal growth, freedom, and financial success.
I hope these tips have spurred you on, but if you’ve got any burning questions about becoming a full-time YouTuber, just ask them in the comments section below!
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